Category Archives: Environment

COMPLETE A FINANCIAL AUDIT OF THE AMHERST ISLAND WIND PROJECT

snowy-owlIMMEDIATE RELEASE

STELLA- March 23, 2017  

Following the Ontario Energy Minister’s statement that there is a robust supply of energy for decades to come, the Association to Protect Amherst Island  (APAI) called on the Provincial Auditor-General, Bonnie Lysyk, to examine why the provincial Liberal Government is not exercising its right to terminate an expired wind turbine contract signed in February 2011 and save the Ontario taxpayers more than $500MM over the next 20 years. Windlectric, a subsidiary of Algonquin Power and Utilities Corporation, continues with plans to build a 75 MW wind project on Amherst Island that would produce unnecessary and expensive electricity costing  $140 per MWh.

Although Premier Wynne admitted that the “green energy” policy is a mistake and that the electricity rates were too high, the Association’s numerous attempts to have the project terminated have been ignored.  Michèle Le Lay, APAI President, questioned the Liberal Government’s logic: “Why is the Government proceeding with the industrialization and the destruction of the natural and cultural heritage of a community, allowing twenty-six, 50-storey-tall wind turbines to be built in bird and bat migratory routes, endangering at-risk species’ habitats and at the same time, risking the health and safety of the people who live there for unneeded, costly energy?”

She explained that: “Right across the channel from the Island, the Lennox and Addington Gas Plant operates at less than 3% capacity and the new Napanee Generating Station being built right beside it is slated to operate at about 30% capacity.  Even worse, in early 2017, the Ministry of Energy forced the closure of Northland Power Generation Station (across from the Island) that offered to provide electricity to the grid for $59 per MWh. Something is not right about all of this”. She added : “The Liberal Government could save the Ontario taxpayers and electricity consumers between $400- and $600-million dollars over 20 years by cancelling the Windlectric contract”.

“Ontario taxpayers could use a break on their electricity bills.  Why pour more money into the pockets of a large utility at taxpayers’ and electricity consumers’ expense?” said Mayo Underwood, a resident of the Island.

A formal letter has been sent to the Auditor-General of Ontario seeking a financial investigation on why the Ontario Government refuses to terminate an expired wind turbine contract and agrees to pay for the next 20 years a wind company the highest rate ever ($140 MWh estimated average rate) for unneeded electricity.

 

Contact(s):  Michèle Le Lay (613) 929-2979  or  protectai@kos.net

Protect Amherst Island 

 

Who Pays for killing the Eagles?

eagle soaringSouthern Ontario has 4 publicly known (to date ) eagle deaths caused by wind turbines.  READ:  NextEra freely handed permit to destroy Bald Eagle nest: FOI records

Internationally deaths of the iconic raptors by wind projects remains an ongoing environmental horror story.  The writer in the  letter below asks questions about the deference granted to wind facilities who are in essence given licence to kill unlike any other industry.

Emmetsburg NewsMarch 21, 2017

To the Editor:

If wind turbines are subject to wildlife areas, what happens if an eagle is hit and killed or wounded by a wind turbine? Eagles are an endangered bird and are protected by the Federal Gov. law. I read on the internet, the first offense is a $5000 fine and or one year in jail. Second time it is $10000 fine and two years in jail. Third time, if that is a felony, the fine is $250000 and jail time. Now, question is, who is to blame for the death or wounding of the eagle? Remember this is a federal crime if one is killed or wounded according to the message on the internet. Who would pay the damages or the jail time? Would it be the wind turbine company, the land owner, or would it be the county supervisors who made this decision on their own to allow the wind companies to come in by rezoning, or would it be all three?

(signed)?Tillford Egland

Cylinder, IA (USA)

Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility: Wrong from the start

ocotillo nightThe Lesson: This project was a disaster from the beginning. Speed and greed are a recipe for environmental, economic, and social failures. Applications for future wind developments must learn from this experience and be much, much more diligent and responsible in their planning and execution.

Desert Report March 2017 – Parke and Linda Ewing

The Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility (OWEF)1 is an utility scale project placed on 12,436 acres near Ocotillo, California, of which 10,151 acres are public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Let’s not forget the towns of Ocotillo and NoMirage. Not huge towns, but home to 266 residents who chose the solitude, the quietness, and the beauty of the ever-changing seasons. Much of this beauty, along with the ecosystem, has been sacrificed.

This wind energy facility now consists of 112 Siemens 2.3-108 MW Industrial Wind Turbines (IWT), which means each IWT was rated to produce 2.3 Megawatts (MW), and the blade swept area is 108 meters in diameter (354.331’). At a later date, the rating was increased to 2.7 MW per tower, very likely to meet the minimum installed capacity required by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) if San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is to meet their mandated renewable energy requirements.

The nacelle, which houses moving and support components such as the gearbox, generator, and main shaft, sits on top of a round tapered steel tower 80m (262.467’) above the ground. The 173’ long blades are held in place at a hub which is attached to the end of the nacelle. The total height of the wind turbine when a blade is in the 12 o’clock position is about 438’. The base of the tower is 15’ in diameter and houses the inverter and control equipment. Two cooling fans are placed outside of the base under the entry stairway, and the transformer is placed on the ground next to the base. More data can be found at Wikipedia2 and at the Siemens’ link3. All these links are posted in the “Notes” section online at http://www.desertreport.org.

ocotilloPublic Involvement

How did this happen? Initially, when we first heard about this project, we were told by Pattern Energy officials and by project documentation that we, the residents, would not be impacted by the turbine facility because it would be located five miles away from the Ocotillo Community. Five miles? That’s an acceptable distance. My wife and I now have turbines that reside one-half a mile from our house and with most less than one mile from the community on all sides.

There were so many maps presented during the different meetings with the various Imperial County departments that confusion ran rampant when someone asked which map represented the location of the turbines for this project. During a scoping meeting, a meeting designed to gain input from every single entity, person, department, or facility that may be impacted by this project, the residents were not allowed to speak. Instead, we were instructed to write our questions on a post card, and they would be addressed at a later time. When?

Ground Disturbances

Now let’s talk about the turbine access roads. Initial discussions and documentation indicated that these roads would be thirty-six feet wide and then narrowed to sixteen feet once the project was complete. In addition there would be an additional fifteen feet on either one side or both sides for the electrical collection lines from each turbine. Some roads ended up being up to 113 feet wide. The disturbance caused to Native American sites and to wildlife has been recorded many times4.5.

Many homeowners have felt the need to purchase flood insurance, in the middle of the desert. Residents feel that Pattern Energy was allowed to change the drainage patterns that will affect the alluvial fans, causing flooding by diversion of rain runoff. Construction of forty-two miles of access roads and an additional eighty-two miles of collection lines has stripped the water absorbing desert crust, creating the potential for flooding in areas that have been safe in past years.

Initial Wind Estimates

The next indiscretion that made itself Somewhere on this map is a community now surrounded by industrial project. known were the wind values. The wind values were incorrectly stated – records were from the Desert View Tower located ten miles up the Interstate Highway grade from Ocotillo and approximately another 2500 feet higher than the desert valley where the project is located. How were they allowed to use those numbers? Three years of data have shown that these turbines are not generating the power that was projected.

Production Shortfall

During the permitting process, differing estimate were given for the energy production of the facility depending upon who made the estimate and for whom they were intended. Ultimately Patten Energy stated that the OWEF would have a capacity factor of 34% (meaning that over time it would produce 34% of its maximum rated output at full sunlight) and that it would produce 2673 gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy in its first three years. In fact, the actual capacity factor during this period was 21%, and the total energy produced was 1438 GWh, far below the projected figures. This was in spite of receiving $115,890,946 dollars from the Department of Energy’s 1603 Cash Grant Program6 in lieu of the Production Tax Credits and $110,000,000 from the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission7.

During the BLM scoping period for the project, many comments were submitted. The majority of these were in opposition to the OWEF. Comments that favored the facility were mostly based on the jobs and economic benefits that the facility would provide. A small minority of the comments favored the facility because of the sustainable renewable energy benefits. Those claims were based on the “Installed Capacity,” which is the maximum power which the facility can generate at full daytime sunlight, and an expected capacity factor of 34%. Ocotillo Wind, as stated previously, has fallen far short of predictions.

Current electricity generation for the residents of California relies on a mix of energy production technologies including: coal (7.7%), natural gas (41.9%), nuclear (13.9%), other renewables (13.7%), hydroelectric (10.8%), and others (12.0%). Based on nearly 204,000 GWh of net power generation in California in 2010, the average annual production of 479 GWh by the Ocotillo facility represents only 0.2 percent of California’s total. It is reasonable to wonder if the negative consequences of the project can be justified by this small contribution.

Mechanical failures

The OWEF has been plagued by mechanical problems. On May 16, 2013, a 173’ long wind turbine blade was thrown off of Turbine 156. The cause was determined to be a fiberglass root segment curing problem. Ten wind turbine blades were ultimately replaced at Ocotillo Wind. Many people familiar with the facility believe that the blade problem was due to the “fast tracking” of the facility to enable Ocotillo Express LLC to complete the project by the end of 2012, so they could qualify for the 1603 Cash Grant offered by the Department of Energy.

On January 15, 2015, Turbine 110 had a major fire. The cause of the fire was never revealed. The entire turbine was eventually replaced. The turbine did not generate power for nine months.

On November 21, 2016, Turbine 126 collapsed entirely. It was later confirmed to have been caused by a turbine blade striking the side of the tower. According to the Ocotillo Wind website, a shear stiffener inside of the blade was found to have failed. The Ocotillo Wind website8 stated that the turbine actually collapsed “in the Designated Safe Zone.” There are easily twelve wind turbine sites where BLM designated trails fall within that so-called designated safe zone. Potentially, a person could be killed under any of the Ocotillo Wind Turbines since the entire area is open to
the public.

The OWEF has been plagued with oil leaks. The residents of Ocotillo have counted over seventy turbines with oil leaks at towers and countless hydraulic oil leaks on the blades, many of them considered to be significant by the Imperial County Environmental Task Force. Additionally failures of yaw drives (which orient the blades into the wind) have caused problems. Eight gearboxes have been replaced since the facility became 100% operational along with hundreds of yaw drives.

ocitillo 1013925_544090075648796_475568349_n1Visual Blight

The bright red blinking lights of Ocotillo Wind are required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and can be seen from the southern portion of the Salton Sea, over seventy miles away. Nobody lives in the desert to view wind turbine lights blinking in unison all night long. Pattern Energy promised the community a lighting control system which would be radar activated only when aircraft were present. The Laufer System9 was approved by the FAA in January of 2016. Pattern constructed the whole first phase of Ocotillo Wind consisting of ninety-four turbines in a record 6 1/2 months, but it has been over a year, and the very irritating red lights still shine.

Death in the Airocitillo-1-1038x576.png

Many birds have been struck by the wind turbine blades, and bats lungs have exploded as they fly near the turbines. A carcass survey between 10/05/14 and 09/22/15, obtained by a FOIA request, indicated that sixty-nine birds and bats were found on the agreed upon survey sites, under or near the wind turbines. Every wind turbine site on the facility was not searched every day. We can assume that scavengers consumed many of the carcasses prior to the survey. Bird kills don’t appear to be a huge problem in Ocotillo, but we all hate the killing of any wildlife.

The once numerous Red Tailed Hawks have disappeared. Were they killed by spinning wind turbine blades? There were once so many jackrabbits that it was overwhelming. Now there are no jackrabbits, and the coyotes have also disappeared completely. The last time we saw one, it was skinny and sickly looking, almost certainly for lack of food. The ecosystem is gone.

The Lesson

This project was a disaster from the beginning. Speed and greed are a recipe for environmental, economic, and social failures. Applications for future wind developments must learn from this experience and be much, much more diligent and responsible in their planning and execution.

Desert Report Spring 2017:

There is good money and there is bad

siemens-indiana-672x372To the Editor:

The proposed industrial wind turbine “farm” is not welcomed by the majority of the people. It will inhibit our view of the sky, cause health problems for people and animals, and cost this community, and surrounding communities a fortune in lost property values and revenue.

At a recent town hall meeting in Hopkinton, one of the contract holders stated, “Where is National Grid based?” This was in response to the issue of Iberdrola being out of Spain. Well, this was the most pathetic attempt at drawing a parallel that I’ve heard, so far.

Dear Mr. Contract Holder, National Grid does not require me to erect anything on my property that robs my neighbors of their health and property values. National Grid does not sneak into our community, like a snake in the grass, to pit me against my neighbors to further their subsidy mining. National Grid is providing a necessary evil, I’d love to be off grid.

I could go on, but I want to tell you about the woman who spoke before him. She stood up to tell us how she needed this contract to pay her taxes. Her tax burden was too heavy. She went on to talk about how the house across the road from her had been on the market for three years and hadn’t sold.

Maybe it’s because her property, directly across the road is contracted to house industrial wind turbines? And that’s part of disclosure to potential buyers. Could she possibly have her Iberdrola blinders on too tight? There are a lot of elderly people in our community. They will be passing on, who’s going to buy their properties with industrial wind turbines hulking over them? And you, Mr. and Mrs. contract holder, what if no one wants to buy or inherit your property when you pass on. God willing, my husband and I will be alive for another 50 years or more.

We don’t want to deal with your shortsightedness. Some of you are very near the end of your lives, at least statistically. When you’re gone, people will either lament your passing, or want to forget what you did to our community. Will your families want to be associated with the so and so’s of Hopkinton/Parishville, who destroyed the quality of life for an entire community, to make a buck?

Finally I’d like to state that we don’t hate people for their mistakes, and implore the same from you. If you’re a contract holder, you have most assuredly made a mistake. Iberdrola is a $44 billion company. Blindsided, you were no match for them. It’s a mistake we may have made, if we were in your shoes. We have seven children, five still living at home. Money is important, and fun! But there’s good money and bad money.

Whether God allows this project to come to completion or not, all of us need to put our differences on this matter aside and rise above the mess that Iberdrola has brought to our community.

Jim and Angela Spear

Parishville, New York

Published- North County NowMarch 16, 2017:  http://northcountrynow.com/letters/opinion-put-differences-aside-wind-tower-matter-say-parishville-couple-0194077

Bat remedy hearing concludes

brown-bat

Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson demands to know why wind power developers get a remedy hearing on endangered bats when harm has been proven. Minister Murray replied he would have to resign if he intervenes in the independence of the Environmental Tribunal process but it is the Green Energy Act that allows wind projects to be approved. Under the Green Energy Act the Minister has authority to intervene.  The Minister to resign over the harm caused by wind projects?  What an interesting idea!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Turbine Hearing Concludes

Collingwood | by Catherine Thompson  

yet more submissions in long-running case

A hearing to do with a wind turbine proposal near Stayner took one day instead of three.

The Environmental Review Tribunal allowed WPD Canada to have a Remedy Hearing to present ways to reduce harm to natural heritage, mainly the Little Brown Bat.

The hearing, held in Collingwood council chambers, was originally to start on Monday, but that day was cancelled because a witness was unavailable. The hearing, on Tuesday, heard from three witnesses.

Dr. Scott Reynolds, presenting for WPD Canada, via Skype, says they would slow down the turbine speed when bats are in the air in an effort to decrease the number of bat deaths.

The second witness, Susan Holroyd, a wildlife biologist specializing in bats, appeared by Skype, on the appellant, Preserve Clearview’s side.

The third and last witness was Ecologist Sarah Mainguy, also for the opponent’s side. She told the hearing there are huge uncertainties in this application such as the number of bats and their exact route in the areas of the turbines. She added that the mitigation suggestions from WPD Canada are not good enough.

Witnesses and lawyers could not comment on the hearing proceedings, but Chuck Magwood of Preserve Clearview, was in the audience.  He says he agrees with their witnesses that one dead Little Brown Bat, which is an endangered species, is too many.

WPD has until March 31st to make written submissions, the opponents have four weeks to reply and then another two weeks for WPD to rebut the reply, taking the latest round in the turbine discussions to May 12th.

Magwood says he expects a decision by the Environmental Review Tribunal in June.

READ AT: http://www.bayshorebroadcasting.ca/news_item.php?NewsID=91434

 

Remedy Hearing – Little Brown Bats take centre stage

brown-batWE THOUGHT IT WAS OVER! TURBINE FIGHT STILL GOING! REMEDY HEARING FEB. 28TH!

Wind project developer  (WPD) have been granted another chance that could allow them to install wind turbines at Clearview.  They lost at the Tribunal on the grounds the project would cause serious harm to human health due to the wind turbines interfering and creating risks for safe aviation movements at the adjacent Collingwood airport.  Serious harm to bats was proven.  collingwood_airport_12

ON TUESDAY, FEB. 28. LITTLE BROWN BATS ARE CENTRE STAGE!

A REMEDY HEARING has been granted to allow WPD to present their mitigations measures which need to prove that the mortalities caused by the wind turbines will not cause irreversible  harm to the critically endangered bat population which is facing possible extinction.

Hearing
(28-Feb-17, 10:30 AM)
Hearing
(01-Mar-17, 10:00 AM)

WHERE? Council Chambers, Collingwood, Town Of Collingwood, P.O. Box 157, 97 Hurontario Street, Collingwood, ON

To confirm dates and times look up case number 16-036 under hearings section on the Environmental Review Tribunal website: http://elto.gov.on.ca/ert/hearings/

[220] The Tribunal finds that over the lifespan the Project, it is more likely than not that the Project will cause serious harm to the local population of little brown myotis from which it will not recover and cannot be reversed. Therefore, without additional mitigation measures in place, the Tribunal finds that engaging in the Project in accordance with the REA will cause irreversible harm to little brown myotis.

16-036 WIGGINS V. ONTARIO(MOECC): http://elto.gov.on.ca/ert/hearings/

DECISION:

Looking for Noise Solutions at Port Ryerse Wind

Port Ryerse Wind is located on the shores of Lake Erie in southern Ontario and is owned by Boralex: (http://www.boralex.com/projects/portryerse) The project has been allowed to be built, operated  and continues to faces strong opposition.  Four Siemens SWT 3.0 113 wind turbine generators began operating in December 2016.  The project already has generated multiple noise complaints from the villagers. Even one of the lease holder hosting a turbine has admitted the noise was louder than anticipated.  READ HERE: https://mothersagainstturbines.com/2017/02/17/boralex-faces-angry-port-ryerse-residents/ 

The project was granted approval by the Ontario government to disturb and intrude upon the first documented nesting site of barn owls in Ontario known in over 5 years. The turbine blades sweep perilous close to an eagle pair and their established nesting territory.  It is just a matter of time for the next Eagle death in Ontario due to wind turbines to occur.  The time is now to stop harming human health and the environment from wind project installations.

February 25, 2017

In response to the media reports of the February 15, 2017 Community Liaison Committee meeting…

As a participant to filling-out Boralex Noise Complaint Forms, there is a serious need to strive toward a solution with the noise generated by the Port Ryerse wind-farm.

One has to give their head a shake as to why four wind turbines were plunked in the middle of the communities of Avalon, Hay Creek and Port Ryerse. As reported, depending on weather and where one lives, the annoying turbine noise in these communities is constant, loud, with serious and confusing audible phasing in certain areas. Residents are quite upset, as they fought against the Ontario Government and lost, and now they are faced with the frustrations experienced by the day-and-night-time noise.

As reported in the media, there was hate witnessed and expressed toward Boralex, their turbine partners, and the Ontario Government at this meeting. An invasion of any sort can spur hatred, and hatred will eat people up inside. Especially over time!

Hate is a powerful word, but in this case it can hold true, as there is a medical term that can be attributed to this hatred; “MISOPHONIAHATRED of NOISE. Clear test results show that it affects the anterior insula, which physically affects amygdala, hippocampus, and frontal cortex creating permanent brain changes by an increase in the myelin wrapping of neurons. In other words, (hard wiring) of the brain to the noise which created this condition.

Think what damage can be done to a child’s brain, when that child grows-up in the environment of wind turbine noise.

This growing psychosis within our communities was created firstly, by those who dreamed of a financial coup by offering up their land to wind turbines. Secondly by a government that took away the voice of the people in order to obtain their objective by implementing the now “halted” Green Energy Act, and thirdly by a company which capitalized on the opportunities presented.

After 500 people had signed a petition, and fought for five years at the Tribunals against the proposal, the communities are now left only with the noise invasion and the reduction in property values.

What SOLUTIONS can be achieved to reduce the noise? Start monitoring right now, when the leaves are off the trees. Not later. Return the voice of the people to our municipal government, by partnering municipal support with concerned residents in an independent monitoring study with clear lines-of-sight to receptors in order to refute, or agree with government findings. The objectives would be to reduce noise to levels agreed upon by the community rate-payers and to enforce the municipal noise bylaws by trimming the pitch on the turbine blades to lessen their impact against the wind, thus reducing the levels of noise and hate. The Provincial Government would then compensate Boralex for their financial loss in energy production, as found in… (Hansard page G-518, last paragraph) “The study found problems and the closest turbine at 456m shut down permanently, the next nearest turbine at 700m, along with three others now run at low rpm so that they’re not emitting as much noise, and then they shut them down at night”.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources the Port Ryerse Wind Farm is allowed to kill 2 Raptors in one year and no more than 10 bats per turbine in the same year before adjustments to slow down the turbines would ever take place. Another plus for trimming the pitch on the turbines is that it would provide a measure of safety for the immature Bald Eagles within the wind farm if we act soon enough! One Bald Eagle killed will destroy the chances of future successful nestings!!

RW Goodlet
Port Ryerse

PHOTOS COURTESY OF ADAM GOODLET

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Federal Government abandons wind project on Nova Scotia’s Sable Island

sable-island-horsesThe harsh environment of wind swept Sable Island located off the shores of Nova Scotia famed for its wild horses has claimed the demise of wind turbines. The turbines  are coming down. Sharing a place in the history of the island known as a graveyard for hundreds of shipwrecks  on the Atlantic. The toll now includes five failed wind turbines.

SableIsland postcards2.indd

By Aly Tomson   The Canadian Press    Sunday February 19. 2017

HALIFAX—The harsh conditions and extreme isolation of Sable Island has forced Ottawa to abandon a wind project on the iconic crescent-shaped sandbar — more than 15 years after it launched the initiative.

Parks Canada said wind turbines do not meet the needs of the windswept Nova Scotia island, famous for the wild horses that have roamed there since the 18th century.

“The wind turbines were part of a … project to reduce Sable Island’s dependence on fossil fuels, and were chosen based on the renewable energy technology that existed at that time,” the department said in an email statement about the million-dollar, overbudget initiative.

“Since then, there have been considerable advancements in the field of renewable energy systems.”

Dubbed the Graveyard of the Atlantic, some 350 vessels have wrecked on the island’s shores and hidden reefs since the mid-1700s. It is home to hundreds of namesake horses that have become synonymous with its romantic and untamed image.

Environment Canada launched the pilot project in 2000 — which would have seen the five wind turbines generate energy onto the grid of the island known for its shifting sand dunes and fragile environment.

But when Parks Canada took over management of the 40-kilometre-long island when it became a national park reserve in 2013, the wind turbines were not functioning.

“The project faced several delays due to the environmental sensitivity of the site and wildlife concerns, as well as the isolated and harsh conditions,” the department said, adding that the turbines were fully installed and running in 2006.

“Unfortunately, technical problems continued due to the harsh conditions and the inability to adapt the technology to the operations of the other infrastructure at the site.”

sable-island-horses-2

READ MORE  AT: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/02/19/federal-government-abandons-wind-energy-project-on-nova-scotias-sable-island.html

Tree Cutting Penalty. A Licence to Kill?

Cedar-Point-Trees-cut-3-1024x768.jpg
Site of unauthorized clear cutting that occurred during construction of Cedar Wind. Lambton County, Ontario

Taking down trees even those under provincial protection is occurring in multiple wind projects and punitive fines are less than a tap on the wrist for offenders.  Cedar Wind construction removed trees and the cost was a mere pittance.

Niagara Wind destroyed well over 7 000 trees including individual trees  estimated to be centuries old including tree species at risk.

1297813168809_ORIGINAL
Old growth tree one of many removed for Niagara Wind. West Lincoln, Ontario

Presentation on trees removed  at Niagara Wind:  https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1widGvicaK-VA1XXB4xC1OBtMlWopYG281sa94LKdktY/edit#slide=id.p3

WPD Wild Turkey Road
Clear cutting for wind development on ecological sensitive and protected Oak Ridges Moraines (head waters location supplying greater Toronto area)

 

Lambton landowner handed $6,000 fine in high- profile woodlot clearing case

By: Barbara Simpson  Sarnia Observer  Published: February 15, 2017

If trees are illegally cut in a woodlot and a fine of a few thousand dollars is handed out, is that enough to deter a landowner from clear-cutting again?

That’s the question several Lambton County politicians are raising after learning the details of the penalty the county leveled at a landowner for removing more trees than permitted during the construction of a Cedar Point wind turbine in 2015.

The high-profile case of clear-cutting – which involved an acre of trees in Lambton Shores – resulted in a fine of $6,000 for the private landowner. That amount was paid in full to the county in early 2016.

While mistakes are bound to happen, Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said Wednesday the dollar amount of the penalty was not “punitive.”

“In James Bond, they say it’s a licence to kill. This is a licence to cut.”

READ AT: http://www.theobserver.ca/2017/02/15/lambton-landowner-handed-6000-fine-in-high-profile-woodlot-clearing-case

Hoosac Wind- We are prisoners in our house

hoosac-wind-turbineHoosac Wind has destroyed a wild place and created ongoing community division.  Initially supportive of wind power  Larry Lorusso shares his experience of living adjacent to the project.  His goal is to protect the environment from the dangers of wind power.  Using his talents for storytelling and photography he conveys the  negative impacts of the wind project and illustrates how noise from the wind turbines has impacted his health and that of his family.

To learn more  visit Hoosac Wind Watch  https://www.facebook.com/HoosacWindWatch/ 

By MATT LINDSEY

PARISHVILLE — A Massachusetts photographer warned about 60 St. Lawrence County residents last night about what he sees as the potential dangers and disadvantages of the North Ridge Wind Farm, which has divided the community.

Presenter Larry Lorusso, who lives about one mile from Hoosac Wind Farm, located in Massachusetts, said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the turnout last night, even though a storm dropped about a foot of snow over much of the North Country. The meeting was held at the town hall.

Avangrid, the developer of the proposed North Ridge Wind Farm between State Rts. 11B and 72 in Parishville and Hopkinton, is looking to install around 40 wind towers — as high as 500 feet tall from the bases to the blade tips. Dozens of people have signed leases to allow the windmills on their land.

The controversial wind towers have created rifts between family and friends in Hopkinton, Parishville and the surrounding areas. When he heard about the proposed product he reached out to locals and wanted to educate people, he said.

Lorusso will present a slideshow at the county Legislature’s Services Committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. tonight at the county courthouse. He has been allotted 20 minutes for his presentation.

“I have nothing to gain,” he said, about why he travelled to the North Country to speak about wind towers. “Who better to know what is going on than someone who has them in their backyard?”

Lorusso said he supported the wind towers based on what Iberdrola, an energy company based in Spain, had told him. Avangrid, a subsidiary of Iberdrola, is heading the project in Hopkinton and Parishville.

“They told us it was going to help the environment – it doesn’t,” Lorusso said. “Wind towers are not the answer to green energy.”

Based on his experience living one mile from wind turbines, Lorusso became a community activist and documented through photography and stories and is sharing that with other communities considering installing wind towers.

“These are being sold to us that they are saving the environment,” he said. “I am not anti-wind, I am pro-environment.”

Lorusso documented the land prior to the installation, the installation process and what has come of it since wind towers were installed.

He describes his land as an “enchanted forest” with “little impacts from humans.”

“There were mountain alterations of beautiful land – they wrecked it,” Lorusso said. “There used to be wildlife sign and wildlife – all gone.”

Lorusso said the noises range from ringing in ears, to the sound of a helicopter hovering or a jet engine that never takes off. But, he says the vibrations are the worst part.

“The worse is not what you see or hear, it’s what you feel,” he said. “I can feel my head pulsing — I can put my hand on my windows and feel them vibrating.”

Lorusso said he, his wife and neighbors developed several medical issues since the towers were installed near his home about four years ago. He says the issues include heart problems, high blood pressure, and sinus issues.

“They have not been able to determine the source of my wife’s sinus issues,” he said, noting that it was not a sinus infection.

He says he has sleepless nights at home, but slept well during his stay in St. Lawrence County.

“I wake up in a state of anxiety – on the edge of fear,” he said. “Yesterday and today were the first days in months that I haven’t woken up anxious.”

And then there is the ringing in the ears.

“It’s never quiet, even when it’s quiet,” he said.

Lorusso said the issues have driven some people away from their homes. “People abandoned their homes, they just left.”

Lorusso is determined to stay and fight against the wind tower company.

“We are prisoners in our own house – it’s sad,” he said.

Published in NCNowNews on February 13, 2017:  http://northcountrynow.com/news/massachusetts-photographer-travels-st-lawrence-county-warn-officials-and-locals-concerning